Two government departments in India have agreed to draft common guidelines to monitor and control the mushrooming fields of stem cell medicine and research. A number of clinics are already offering stem cell therapies and some research institutes are forging ahead with experiments on human embryonic stem cells without government permission. Doctors at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), for instance, have been treating patients with bone marrow stem cells for heart disease, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and stroke without permission and without reporting results in peer-reviewed journals. According to Nature, some scientists are concerned about the quality of the cells being used in therapy and the failure of clinicians to understand stem- cell biology. “We want to promote stem-cell technology but not in this scandalous way,” says Vasantha Muthuswami, of the Indian Council of Medical Research in New Delhi.
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